Analysis

Chemical Merger Strategy Burns FTC

By Bryan Koenig (February 6, 2020, 4:21 PM EST) -- The Federal Trade Commission's winning streak on merger challenges ended last month, a loss quite possibly caused by the agency's risky decision to rely on a rarely used definition of the market that allegedly would have been harmed by the union of two chemical producers.

In a decision unsealed Monday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said the agency hadn't justified its request for a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking Evonik's planned $625 million purchase of fellow hydrogen peroxide producer PeroxyChem. The commission's failure, the D.C. federal judge said, rested in the agency's market definition, which relied not on the demand side of...

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